The Bharatiya Janata Party no longer speaks of implementing the Swaminathan Committee report and doubling farmers’ income, points out the former chief minister. Nor, he says, does the chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar speak of filling up vacancies, which he failed to do.
He exudes confidence that Congress would fare much better than pundits expect and says the party has a fighting chance of even winning.
“The BJP successfully encashed the valour and sacrifices of our jawans to catch the imagination of the voters during the Lok Sabha election. But no section of society is happy with the performance of the Khattar government, be it farmers, traders, youth, government employees or others. People have made up their mind to vote out the BJP government on October 21,” he declares.
Asking people and the media to compare his tenure as chief minister and the tenure of Mr Khattar, Hooda goes on to point out, “unemployment is highest in the state. Farmers are not getting remunerative prices. Agriculture Minister (of Haryana) Om Prakash Dhankar had agitated bare-chested in support of the Swaminathan report and promised during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that the moment BJP would form the government, Swaminathan report would be implemented. Once in power, Dhankar did not even talk about this report, let alone implementing it,” he scoffs.
“I had raised the retirement age of government employees from 58 years to 60 years before demitting office. However, the BJP government reduced it back to 58, stating that it would create more vacancies for the youth. But in the last five years, the BJP could not fill even the existing vacant posts,” said the former chief minister.
Traders in the state are victims of the Inspector Raj but corruption in government and political circles continues to be widespread, he indicated.
“BJP has not only failed to undertake any project of public welfare, it has not been able to even complete those projects which the Congress government had started. No new industry has been set up. It has only repacked and renamed the welfare schemes launched by the Congress,” adds the former chief minister.
Asked to spell out the strengths of the Congress, he points to the party’s ability to take all sections of society with it. “People believe that law and order in Haryana was much better than now. The policies of the Congress are always pro-people; it does not differentiate between people on grounds of religion, caste, creed, colour or sex,” he replied.
Talking about the party’s weaknesses, he readily admits that Congress cannot match the financial resources at the command of the ruling party. But he claims the party workers are fast coming out of the state of demoralisation and working hard to overcome financial constraints.
Asked to comment on the criminal cases filed against him and other Congress leaders and how they would impact the poll, Hooda was categorical in saying, “Everyone in the state knows that these cases are politically motivated. The BJP launched these cases because it is convinced that only the Congress can dislodge it from power in the state. These cases do not affect me personally because I have done nothing wrong and I have full faith in judiciary. These are only minor irritants at best,.”